The Nedbank Golf Challenge Preview And Tips
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The Nedbank used to be a select 12-man invitational but, after increasing to 30 players in recent years, there’s now 72 players lining-up this year as it is now the penultimate leg of the European Tour’s Final Series.
The venue is still the Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa, and at least punters will be able to flick through the formbook, unlike last week in Turkey where the front-runners took some serious picking.
The course is a long par-72 parkland course which is built in a dormant volcanic crater. It features narrow fairways, whilst the Kikuyu grass is not to everyone’s liking, especially around the smaller than usual greens, which are Bentgrass, and run at about 11 on the Stimpmeter.
This week’s skillset requires accuracy off both the tee and in finding the greens, though power is still a big help in leaving a lesser club with which to find the greens. Hitting it in the rough is a big negative, and it’s hard to gain any control from it even if you can advance your ball far enough.
It’s therefore no surprise that Henrik Stenson thrives here, and the Swede has posted figures of 2/4/1/2/4/2 in this event, though many of those were in much smaller fields. The Swede must go close this week though if finding the same level of form as he did in China two-weeks ago, and there’s a real chance he’ll improve further as that appearance came on the back of a lengthy rest. Add in the fact that the Swede has already won two versions of the Fall Series, and a Fedex Cup – showing he loves these big-money end-of-season events – and the Swede is almost guaranteed to have the bit firmly between his teeth this week. 4/1 doesn’t smack of value – but most punters, including me, will see him as an each-way bet to nothing.
There are 3 other previous winners in the field to also consider, with 2014 Champion Danny Willett having shown a real liking for the place having recorded that win on debut, and finishing a respectable fourth when trying to defend his title last season. The problem with Willett is his current form, and he’s not been troubling the judge of late under the pressure of hanging onto to his Final Series lead. That leaves 2004 winner Retief Goosen and 2012 winner Martin Kaymer, and the latter looks the more likely winner of the two having posted a couple of top-6 finishes of late.
Of the others, in-form Ross Fisher is the one with some solid course form, and he knows this will be a massive opportunity for him to post a big finish in his quest to get back in the world’s top-50 (currently 72nd). Event figures of 3/5/2/15 tie in nicely with his current form of 2/2/67/6.
Henrik Stenson 2.5 Points Each-Way @ 4/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 5 places
Ross Fisher 1.5 Points Each-Way @ 20/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 5 places
Martin Kaymer 1 point Each-Way @ 22/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 5 places
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